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Data from: Biomechanical diversity of mating structures among harvestmen species is consistent with a spectrum of precopulatory strategies

Citation

Burns, Mercedes; Shultz, Jeffrey W. (2016), Data from: Biomechanical diversity of mating structures among harvestmen species is consistent with a spectrum of precopulatory strategies, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m4r46

Abstract

Diversity in reproductive structures is frequently explained by selection acting at individual to generational timescales, but interspecific differences predicted by such models (e.g., female choice or sexual conflict) are often untestable in a phylogenetic framework. An alternative approach focuses on clade- or function-specific hypotheses that predict evolutionary patterns in terms neutral to specific modes of sexual selection. Here we test a hypothesis that diversity of reproductive structures in leiobunine harvestmen (daddy longlegs) of eastern North America reflects two sexually coevolved but non-overlapping precopulatory strategies, a primitive solicitous strategy (females enticed by penis-associated nuptial gifts), and a multiply derived antagonistic strategy (penis exerts mechanical force against armature of the female pregenital opening). Predictions of sexual coevolution and fidelity to precopulatory categories were tested using 10 continuously varying functional traits from 28 species. Multivariate analyses corroborated sexual coevolution but failed to partition species by precopulatory strategy, with multiple methods placing species along a spectrum of mechanical antagonistic potential. These findings suggest that precopulatory features within species reflect different co-occurring levels of solicitation and antagonism, and that gradualistic evolutionary pathways exist between extreme strategies. The ability to quantify antagonistic potential of precopulatory structures invites comparison with ecological variables that may promote evolutionary shifts in precopulatory strategies.

Usage Notes

Location

eastern North America